Author Topic: Help? A couple problems...  (Read 1745 times)

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Offline Natephish

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Help? A couple problems...
« on: December 26, 2006, 11:07:02 PM »
Now that I got a bunch of pizza equipment for Christmas ;D I've made a few pies.  Overall they were great, everyone was impressed.  I did have a couple of problems though and since most of you know EVERYTHING, it's best to ask you for advice.  I made 60% hydration doughs w/KA bread flour and ADY.  I don't have a mixer so I had to hand mix and knead the dough.  My cheese is 50/50 sliced part-skim and whole milk mozz.  Here goes:

1. My cheese browns (and just starts to burn) before my crust chars nicely.  This only happened on two out of the four pies I've made in two days; I'm thinking I put the cheese on a little too thick on those two.

2. My dough is weird.  I don't think I'm kneading it enough.  I followed Pete-zza's hand kneading instructions (I have no mixer).  I put water in one bowl and yeast, salt and flour (I'm not using oil or sugar as I'm trying to make a Pepe's-like pie, very brittle and not sweet) in another.  I mix the dry into the wet (w/o a rest period) until I get a scrappy ball of dough.  I dump that onto a floured surface and knead away, but only for a couple minutes.  My dough balls are still scrappy and ridge-y after kneading, but they hold together into a nicely formed ball.  They are not slick or smooth at all.  I'm pretty sure this is the problem.  My crust ends up being rather flat and almost bread-y instead of fluffy, light and airy.

3. After I knead the dough I let it sit for 24 hours in an oiled bowl.  Upon dumping it out onto a floured surface, it has cracks in it, like deep ridges.  Sometimes the edge of the dough will be dry and a little hard.  There are sometimes little dry spots on other parts of the dough too.  I let it come to room temp for about an hour and then try to stretch it.  Sometimes it has sticky spots and/or it fights back pretty badly.  I can only get it into a weird semi-circular/rectangular shape instead of a nice circle.

4. I use semolina flour on the bottom of my peel/pizza.  This works great and tastes good as well but I've found that after I pull out a pie quite a bit of the semolina is left on the stone in the oven.  It'll then start burning (and smelling awful) after a couple minutes.  I've had to open up the oven (and let out all my heat) to dust it off quickly with a dish rag so it doesn't burn into a charred, bad-tasting mess.  Any way around this?

Thanks for any help!  :pizza:
« Last Edit: December 26, 2006, 11:11:56 PM by Natephish »


Offline November

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Re: Help? A couple problems...
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2006, 11:25:11 PM »
1. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4170.0.html
2. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes, and up to one hour after initial mixing, then knead your dough.  The dough should come out smoother and elastic.
3. 24 hours, how?  In an air-tight bowl?  At what temperature?  Let the dough rest a few minutes in between stretches if it's not stretching uniformly.
4. Are you asking if there's a way around semolina falling onto the stone, or a way around cleaning it?  The answer is most likely no for both, but you can certainly avoid putting too much semolina on your peel.

Offline chiguy

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Re: Help? A couple problems...
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2006, 12:11:04 AM »
 Natephish,
 The small amount of hand kneading, 2 minutes in your case is not enough to develop a stong gluten network. The lack of kneading will also lead to the scrappy dough ball(with cracks). A lack of proper mixing/kneading also can contribute too a springy/tight dough. Another thing too consider is allowing over 1 hour for the dough too warm up. This will ensure that the dough is warm enough too be stretched properly. Also a cold dough will not open up well in the oven, you know the open cell structure you are looking for.
 As far as the lack of browning it is difficult too tell the source of the problem from the information you provided. You should be aware that monitoring finished dough temperatures are important when retarding a dough in the fridge. You may consider switching to a whole milk mozzarella with a higher moisture content. It can prolong the browning of the cheese a bit.
 If you use flour on the peel you will not have problems with it burning on the stone. Oh yeah, don't stick your hand into a hot oven too wipe the stone. You are asking for it man.
                                   Chiguy

Offline Natephish

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Re: Help? A couple problems...
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2006, 12:11:19 AM »
First off, thanks for your help in answering these questions, November.

As for my dough, after it's kneaded I place it in an oiled plastic bowl, covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge for 24 hours.  Then I'll take it out and let it sit to warm to room temp for an hour or so.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2006, 12:13:02 AM by Natephish »

Offline Natephish

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Re: Help? A couple problems...
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2006, 12:14:57 AM »
Natephish,
 The small amount of hand kneading, 2 minutes in your case is not enough to develop a stong gluten network. The lack of kneading will also lead to the scrappy dough ball(with cracks). A lack of proper mixing/kneading also can contribute too a springy/tight dough. Another thing too consider is allowing over 1 hour for the dough too warm up. This will ensure that the dough is warm enough too be stretched properly. Also a cold dough will not open up well in the oven, you know the open cell structure you are looking for.
 As far as the lack of browning it is difficult too tell the source of the problem from the information you provided. You should be aware that monitoring finished dough temperatures are important when retarding a dough in the fridge. You may consider switching to a whole milk mozzarella with a higher moisture content. It can prolong the browning of the cheese a bit.
 If you use flour on the peel you will not have problems with it burning on the stone. Oh yeah, don't stick your hand into a hot oven too wipe the stone. You are asking for it man.
                                   Chiguy
Thanks for the advice.  I think that I do need to knead the dough more, I just worry about overkneading.  I guess it can't be worse than underkneading, right?  :P

Offline November

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Re: Help? A couple problems...
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2006, 12:27:34 AM »
"I think that I do need to knead the dough more, I just worry about overkneading."

It takes quite a lot of effort to over-knead by hand.  I suggested the initial rest period because if you're hand-kneading without one, what you're really doing is just mixing, not kneading; and a couple minutes of mixing will result in "little dry spots on other parts of the dough" as you described.  Once the flour has had a chance to fully absorb the water during the rest period, your hand-kneading will be more effective.

- red.november

Offline chiguy

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Re: Help? A couple problems...
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2006, 12:30:30 AM »
 I would think at least 5 minutes of hand kneading will really improve the dough skins and the stetching ability. Also like I mentioned a cold dough(5min) out of the fridge will not open up well upon baking.
                                                  Chiguy
       
« Last Edit: December 27, 2006, 12:38:01 AM by chiguy »

Offline Natephish

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Re: Help? A couple problems...
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2006, 12:54:05 AM »
You guys rule.  I'll mix up a new batch of dough tomorrow, with a rest period.  I'll post results ASAP.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Help? A couple problems...
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2006, 10:51:55 AM »
Natephish,

There's little that I can add to what Novermber and chiguy have already said. Youi didn't indicate but I assume that you rehydrated the ADY in a bit of warm water for about 10 minutes or so before adding it to the rest of the formula water. I have found that it is easier to hand knead a dough with higher hydration than lower hydration, even a dough that is based on high-gluten flour, although the quantity of dough will be a factor. Using one or more rest periods certainly helps, as already noted.

Peter

Offline Mezentius

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Re: Help? A couple problems...
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2006, 12:22:14 PM »
Since I have found this site I have been hand kneading my doughs like this:

Combine 75% of the flour and the water/proofed ady in a bowl, mix well, and then let sit for thirty minutes.

Add the remainder of the flour and salt and combine.  As I hand mix this I add the oil.  Once the mixture has come together sufficiently I turn it out on a lightly floured surface and begin to knead.

I knead the dough for 12-15 minutes then immediately separate it into two balls and put the dough into covered, oiled containers in the refrigerator.

I've had much better success with this method than with my older method which was similar to natephish's albeit with a longer knead time.  Any obvious places where I might improve on the overall method?  My biggest obstacle at this point is specific kneading technique.  I try to build up a steady rhythm of stretching and folding and constantly turning the dough but I've never seen any demonstration of proper technique so I am going by feel.  Anyone have a video of proper hand kneading technique for an all hand kneaded dough?


Offline grovemonkey

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Re: Help? A couple problems...
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2006, 09:30:28 PM »
Mez,

I do the same thing.  Really seems to help out.  I also got better browning once I got a pizza stone and made sure it was heated enough, after 7 or 8 minutes I rotate the pizza cause my oven doesn't heat it evenly. 

On a side note, I went to a bread shop here in Japan just recently and it's not uncommon for those types of places to have pizza also.  The one I visited the other day actually had some really well done pizza, more of a pizza americana, but it was good.  I was surprised.  I also went to a resturant that served a spinach dough pizza, 2 days ago.  Apparently the added a spinach powder to the mix.  tasted ok.  According to the pizza chef he cooks the pizzas for around 3 minutes in a large, very nice looking naples style pizza oven.  The pizza was ok but i was surprised they cooked the pizza for 3 minutes as the other Naples style pizzaria in my neighborhood does pizzas between 60-90 seconds.  I imagine the fact that the owner of the 60-90 sec pizzas is from Naples probably has something to do with the more traditional bake time.?.?